Stand Up Paddle Boarding – Urban Sport of the Week

Each week members of the USC team try a new activity in our offering. This week, to cope with the tropical inferno that is Berlin, we booked ourselves in for some Stand Up Paddle Boarding, or SUP to the professionals…  

What is Stand Up Paddle Boarding?

Commonly known as SUP, the sport was invented in Hawaii to pass the time while surfers waited for big waves. Now the sport has exploded globally, with people discovering it’s fun, easy and refreshing and can be picked up in just a few minutes.

SUP is a competitive sport with competitions held all over the world and lined up to be introduced into the Olympic Games. However most people know it as a fun leisure activity.

What can you expect?

You’ll find Steh-Paddler on the banks of Schlachtensee, a beautiful lake halfway between Berlin and Potsdam. Steh-Paddler has about 40 SUP boards with wooden benches and seating areas dotted around where you can change and store your valuables in lockers.

They recommend you book a spot as it gets very busy, especially when it’s 35 degrees and everyone in the city is melting. The process is wonderfully simple – just check in and hop on a board.  

How was the workout?

SUP requires very little training – most people can get on a board and get going straight away. The day we went was unbearably hot so getting into the cool water of the lake was sweet relief. Philipp, the founder of Steh-Paddler and our SUP instructor, passed us a SUP and a paddle each and we clambered on.

We began by kneeling on the board. Philipp explained we needed to row 3 times on the left and 3 times on the right to push ourselves forward. He said that professional SUPpers will have strong cores, long legs and strong arms.

Starting off kneeling wasn’t too difficult and I didn’t feel like I’d lose my balance. It was so relaxing paddling along the lake in the beautiful sunshine. Lots of people were out on the water, however the lake is so big it didn’t feel crowded.

Philipp then showed us how to stand up on the board which is where the workout came in. It takes a lot of core strength to keep your balance and I found myself wobbling precariously several times. Philipp explained we should always fall forward on to the board and that way we wouldn’t fall into the water.

We spent about 30 minutes getting used to the technique, paddling idly along and chatting as we went. It was relaxing as well as challenging and a lovely activity to do with friends. As Philipp had explained that SUP is a competitive sport I suggested we have a race. Needless to say Philipp won and I came last.  

How did I feel after?

I felt completely refreshed and relaxed. It was such a pleasant experience drifting on the still water of Schlachtensee, surrounded by trees and reeds, chatting with the USC team as the sun went down.

It definitely is a workout – my core and lower back felt slightly stiff the next day.  

Benefits of SUP

It’s a great workout for your core – you can burn up to 300 calories in an hour.

SUP is great for your shoulders, arms and triceps. It’s very social. The best part of our SUP session was sitting on our boards, dangling our feet in the water and chatting.

It’s a good place to practice acrobatics – as you can see from the USC Instagram, Philipp and Patrick did some epic flips and yoga moves on their boards It’s an effective way to cool down from the tropical weather we’re experiencing.  

Don’t forget to bring…

Your swimming gear, a change of clothes and a waterproof phone case so you can take some snaps while you’re on the water.  

If you want to make the most of the beautiful weather take a look at our SUP partners across Germany to see what’s on in your area.

And check out for events, news and updates.  


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